June 8, 2014

"To many of those soldiers, Sergeant Bergdahl was viewed as standoffish or eccentric, smoking a pipe..."

"... instead of spitting tobacco, as so many soldiers do, and reading voraciously when others napped or watched videos. But he was not isolated from his platoon mates, some said. And while he was, like other soldiers in the platoon, often disappointed or confused by their mission in Paktika, some of his peers also said that Sergeant Bergdahl seemed enthusiastic about fighting, particularly after the platoon was ambushed several weeks before his disappearance. 'He’d complain about not being able to go on the offensive, and being attacked and not being able to return fire'...."

From a NYT piece titled "Bergdahl Was in Unit Known for Its Troubles."

60 comments:

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, do you actually believe anything in this article? Outside of the base being located in Afghanistan, that is?

Christy said...

Think the part about a pipe instead of chew was made up? It simply fits too well into the NYT preferred narrative to be believable.

chuck said...

Oh Geez, now Bergdahl is a civilized, intellectual sort. I can just imagine him in a scarlet english smoking robe, reclining with his pipe and a book in the evening as Bach plays softly in the background.

J'accuse the NYT of swiftboating Bergdahl's platoon.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

See guys, those raggedy Americans were the real enemy. And now they're trying to Swiftboat the only kind of soldier the Times can respect! Good for the paper, bring that platoon down a few pegs.

This post might new a few more tags, Prof.

madAsHell said...

I have to believe the events mentioned here as troubling are common place in the army.

Tarrou said...

So.......battlespace prep by tarring Bergdahl's unit with his failings?

madAsHell said...

The only question remaining is....
Who gets to play Bergdahl in the Hollywood whitewash of his story??
Brad Pitt?

Harold said...

I don't even need to read the article to know the propaganda. It refers to "SGT" Bergdahl. At the time he was in the unit, he was "PFC" Bergdahl. Civilian life, a step or two above in a job isn't important. In military life- it is enourmously important.

PFCs can be, and often are, slackers, and by a lot of other accounts, PFC Bergdahl was one. SGTs cannot be slackers, at least not if they want to stay SGTs, especially in a combat zone.

St. George said...

Love the photo of him smoking that pipe.

Book agents are doubtless scrambling to find him to do a deal.

Could be a Coen Brothers movie. Think of the soundtrack possibilities. Wonder who the Allison Krauss of Pakistan is? "Go to Sleep, you little Private...."

gk1 said...

Predictable backfilling by the NYT. Remember their impassioned editorials admonishing the Bush administration to "Listen to the generals". Yeah well, the generals said not to trade 5 high prized terrorists for this deserting weasel. I guess times have changed.

averagejoe said...

The column seems to imply that soldiers from AWOL's unit were critical of the mission, their commanders, and the war in general, and that this is a unique and damning development. Baloney! There is a blog titled "WWII Diary of Chick Bruns- 70 Years Ago". Chick landed in Anzio where our guys were pinned down on the beachhead for nearly 6 months! After one dangerous mission where he and other engineers were detailed to build a bridge across a river while under heavy fire, and suffered numerous casualties doing so, Chick wrote very critically of the mission, of his commanders, of the war, and of the people back home who had no idea how much our boys were suffering. One significant difference is that Chick Bruns and most of our soldiers in WWII were drafted, while ALL of the soldiers in Afghanistan, including AWOL, are volunteers.

traditionalguy said...

Crazy Bergdahl wanted real action. So he went out and joined the other side who actually attack and kill people... like his own Army unit.

His unit's job was boring. Its only job was to win hearts and minds of the women and children.

Harold said...

I see a lot of people have already brought up the pipe. Pipe smoking is an affectation. I was trying to recall seeing ANY enlisted man smoking a pipe during my 21 years in the Navy, especially among junior enlisted. And I can't. I can recall a lot who rolled their own, but no pipe smokers.

In the days of wooden ships and iron men, you can see all kinds of old timey' photos of tars with pipes. But that was then. Machines that rolled and compacted tobacco into convenient one dose paper tubes by the millions didn't yet exist.

holdfast said...

I saw that picture of him with the pipe and just immediately thought "total douchebag" - you know, that one guy in the unit who thinks he's Pvt Leckie from "the Pacific" or Pvt Joker from Full Metal Jacket. The movies present that guys as being the smart, reasonable one - because's he's an alter-ego for the scriptwriter. In reality, he's annoying, a pain in the ass and unusually likely to get others killed.

"...instead of spitting tobacco, as so many soldiers do . . . "

Doesn't that wording seem odd? Isn't it "chewing tobacco" - both as a verb and as a noun?

Of course the advantage to chewing tobacco over cigs, pipes and stogies is that it does not have a distinctive night-time visual or thermal signature. One the other hand, mouth cancer.

Æthelflæd said...

"chuck said...
Oh Geez, now Bergdahl is a civilized, intellectual sort. I can just imagine him in a scarlet english smoking robe, reclining with his pipe and a book in the evening as Bach plays softly in the background."

Being quite familiar with the conservative Presbyterian homeschooling types such as the Bergdahls, I have no doubt that he was a pipe-smoking, voracious reader. Nevertheless, I highly doubt that his unit was the army version of the HMS Bounty complete with crazy Cpt. Bligh.

Drago said...

In the same way it was necessary to defend Clinton by trashing the reputations of previous presidents, it is now necessary for the left to trash the loyal, non-deserting members of the unit that Bergdahl served with in order to save obama's bacon.

Old lefty hotness (from just a day or two ago): how dare anyone impugn the olympian heroicism and patriotism of the latest america-hating lefty hero, Bergdahl, without "all the facts".

New lefty hotness (beginning just a day or two ago): Hey, Bergdahl is the only sane and thoughtful fellow amongst an entire unit of psychpaths (actual tweet from obama admin member) and terrible leaders.

Remember, for the left, history begins anew each day and what was uttered yesterday by out lefty brethren can be discarded without hesitation and replaced as needed with whatever storyline is required today.

As if we needed another example.

The Drill SGT said...

PFCs can be, and often are, slackers, and by a lot of other accounts, PFC Bergdahl was one. SGTs cannot be slackers, at least not if they want to stay SGTs, especially in a combat zone.

I went to Vietnam as a PFC, came back as a SGT.

There is a big gulf between the two positions in a Platoon.

Knowing it is the NYT, I dont believe much of it at all. Sad to say, that the Rolling Stone in 2012 seems to be more honest and informative than the NYT of 2014.

PB Reader said...

The NYTimes is trying to arc to a point where the rest of the platoon is seen as abnormal and Bergdahl was the normal one, thus desertion was justified.

Hagar said...

This is just filler material assembled and reported from New York and Washington, D.C.

Anyway, much to much is being made of Pfc. Bergdahl's adventures in Afghanistan. He just is not that important.

What is going to turn out to be a big deal, I think, is releasing the Guantanamo Five back into the wild. Those guys we are going to hear more from.

Original Mike said...

"Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, ..."

A few days ago I heard/read someone predict that the next step for the left will be to trash the reputation of Bergdahl's unit, and here we are.

Cedarford said...

Just so folks know, back in the day when POWs were thought to be both the greatest heroes serving by virtue of capture by the enemy, and also the greatest victims by virtue of suffering at enemy hands vs just getting maimed or dying - advocates got special medals and extra pay and automatic promotions. For any Hero-Victim POW.
PVC Bergdahl is just the beneficiary of those laws. Sort of stupid set of laws. Had Benedict Arnold deserted to the Brits with those laws in place, he would have been promoted by America to Lieutenant General by War's end.

It would help if the liberals and progressive Jews at the Times understood that and passed it on in their article.

T. A. Hansen said...

The article wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. That being said, I can see the beginings of a possible strategy of pushback against the solidiers in his unit. Please don't believe or support this pushback. The solidiers in his squad, platoon, company, brigrade and division are the ones who have the best knowledge of what Bergdahl did and how it affected them. Does anyone honestly believe that wearing a bandana or a cut-off t-shirt is an indictment of solidiers in combat?

Jason said...

The White House orders headlines from the Times like the rest of us order up a pizza from Papa John's.

The Godfather said...

What Harold said first, and several others did, too: Re-read the NYT piece and substitute PFC Bergdahl for Sgt. Bergdahl. Sergeant Bergdahl would "complain about not being able to go on the offensive, and being attacked and not being able to return fire.” PFC Bergdahl would "complain about not being able to go on the offensive . . . ." It sounds very different.

I heard an interview yesterday with half a dozen or so guys from his battalion (all ex, now, I think, so they can talk freely). They sounded credible to me. They all want him court martialed. That doesn't mean they all want him punished severely, if at all. If Bergdahl has a defense for his actions, then a court martial is the forum for him to present it, and for the military justice system to adjudicate it.

Jason said...

I had an NCO platoon instructor at Ft. Benning during the Infantry Officer Basic Course. Smoked a pipe all the time in the field.

SFC Wheeler.

One of the best infantry instructors and mentors I've ever seen. And he could walk our legs off on road marches, all the while puffing on his pipe, trotting up and down the column, leaving a whiff of vanilla cavendish in his wake.

Straight-ahead deer hunting redneck. Every weekend or day off he'd go home, change clothes, and go back out into the woods to go hunting when he could. Or just catch rattlesnakes in the summer.

Friendly, genuine, caring, never stopped teaching us, all day, every day. There was nothing affected or pretentious about the man. He was the genuine article.

I saw him again a few years later moonlighting at Columbus Airport as a baggage handler, and then again a few years later assigned to the 25th Division Pathfinders at Schofield Barracks.

One of the great characters in the Army. I admired him a lot.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

So to speak.

Big Mike said...

It used to be called "made up facts." Today it's called "supporting the narrative."

Harold said...

Jason said...
I had an NCO platoon instructor at Ft. Benning during the Infantry Officer Basic Course. Smoked a pipe all the time in the field.

SFC Wheeler.
*********
There are exceptions to everything. As of right now, anyone I know who smoked a pipe, as did my grandfather, is long since dead of old age. There are still pipe smokers around- pipes and pipe tobacco are still sold- but as a non-smoker, I don't know of any. Might know some, but they keep it to themselves.

virgil xenophon said...

Lefties slime the troops? Quelle Surprise! Deja vu all over again..

Firehand said...

...and reading voraciously when others napped or watched videos...
Yeah because all those other troops are 'baccy-chewin' rednecks who have trouble with big words, right?

Son was in Iraq twice, and what he wanted as much or more than munchies(especially the first time) was books. We sent him boxes of them, and when he was done he passed them along, and they were read until they fell apart. Grandparents started sending magazines, too; same thing. Groups were gathering books and magazines to ship over. But a bunch of troops almost fighting over who gets the book next doesn't fit into the Preferred Narrative™, does it?

virgil xenophon said...

My Father, a cmbt Inf officer in WW II used to say that he was convinced that the scruffier and more non-standard a GI could get the better he liked it. I'm away from my library now. but Ryan in his work "A Bridge Too Far" depicts a US-British joint planning session in the field in which the British Officers were dressed fastidiously in formal dress and mildly appalled at their unshaven, cigar-smoking, tobacco-spitting open-collared counterparts festooned with grenades and bayonets strapped to their thighs.

If one reads the memoires of General Patch, who lead the 7th Army in the ETO but before that was Commander of US forces in the New Guinea campaign, the 4-star describes for his heavy-on-offical-uniform ETO theater fellow Generals the "uniform of the day" in New Guinea by going to his old foot locker, putting on a pair of kaki shorts, T-Shirt, Pith Helmet and tennis shoes.

So much for uniform "standards" in combat zones..

richard mcenroe said...

Jayson Blair's working again, I see.

holdfast said...

Jason:

On a SFC, it's a charming and personalizing affectation, the stuff that "war stories" are built on. In a PFC on his first tour, it's at best pretentious as hell. And a jump-off for the NYSlimes to smear his platoon mates as chaw-chewin rednecks.

SGT Ted said...

Here come the OBama serving smearing of soldiers that did not desert their unit, despite any troubles there may have been.

The NYTs doesn't give a shit about those troops. Only PFC Bergdahl.

Yes, PFC He was a PFC when he deserted, but they didn't list him as a deserter, they listed him as a POW, (which is actually a violation of the UCMJ making a false statement in an official document) and those guys get regular promotions as credit for time served while captured. Deserters get stricken from the rolls and all pay is frozen.

He is a fucking PFC Shitbird who needs to answer for his conduct in a war zone. The NYT and anybody that believes their bullshit need to wake the fuck up.

jr565 said...

What young person smokes a pipe? You know how in Movies the good guy always uses a mac and the bad guy uses windows? well in my movie the guy smoking the pipe will always be an Efete weenie.
Unless its Sherlock Holmes, or the Hobbit.
They should have known he was up to no good as he soon as he pulled out that pipe.

Æthelflæd said...

I can think of 4 or 5 young men off the top of my head that smoke a pipe. Common thread - they all grew up reading Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Or maybe it is a regional thing.

Michael K said...

" I can just imagine him in a scarlet english smoking robe,"

Yup that's the narrative.

Lorenzo said...

Did Bergdahl also have leather patches on the sleeves of his BDUs?

Anonymous said...

Sgt Ted:

Most people at the NY Times and the New Yorker and various other outlets care about their anti-war principles, and ideals, and the political power that comes with them.

Anything between the Hudson may be a bridge too far.

Bergdahl is the first in a trade to eventually reach that political objective, of closing Gitmo, ending all wars forever and reaching the progressive, peaceful utopia.

No, many don't care so much about military honor and heroics, nor even the other troops, unless it aligns with their interests and ideals.

No, some may not even care for the liberal internationalist old guard or even Brzezinski, the humanitarian interventionists (Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, Kosovo)

They are the further Left peaceniks and they're staying on message.

Peace is next. Political power is now.

holdfast said...

Also, OMG some of the soldiers dress and deportment, in a combat zone, was less than perfect. If that's the worst thing going on in a "troubled unit", then God Bless.

The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia was "troubled" - the CO and the RSM were drunks, and the troops were torturing and killing prisoners, and killing themselves (and maybe each other).

These guys were wearing bandanas and working on their tans.

William said...

The way schoolgirls went all gushy over Tsarnaev, I'm sure the left will soon be as enamored of Bergdahl as they are of Bradley Manning........What works against this horseshit narrative is the testimony of the men in the platoon who served with Bergdahl. They are self evidently decent, sane, and articulate. They're self evidently not war criminals, hair trigger nutsos , or victims which is Hollywood's preferred depiction of veterans......I'm not a fan of Bergdahl, but he deserves to be treated with sympathy and charity. He doesn't deserve a hero's welcome or, for that matter, an honorable discharge, promotion and back pay. He clearly screwed up, but, absent evidence to the contrary, he's not a traitor or collaborator......Obama presented him in such a way as to almost guarantee scrutiny of the case. Bergdahl would have been better served if as little attention as possible were directed at him. Obama did him no favors with that Rose Garden ceremony.

Gary Rosen said...

"the liberals and progressive Jews at the New York Times"


you mean like publisher Pinch Sulzberger, an Episcopalian who loudly rejects his Jewish heritage and hates Israel as much as you do, C-fudd? Like most of the MSM? By the way you still whitewashing ass-raping molesters like Sandusky and Polanski?

RecChief said...

so he had his complaints about the ROE just like anyone else.

Who set those ROE anyway?

Jason said...

I have a number of photos of my grandfather in WWII England, smoking a pipe while with the US Army Air Corps. Age: 23.

They called him "Gramps," because of his age.

Jeff Teal said...

Funny I actually started smoking when I was in the Army.Something about not being able to get a shower but once every 10+ days or so.Started on cigars like many other people in my unit.But cigars kept getting crushed in my ruck.Pipes didn't.Followed the lead of a couple of older Sgts.And I didn't play video games in the field either.Lousy platforms for games that are that small.But books can pack in a ruck or Butt pack very easily.

Jeff Teal said...

Oh,and soldiers that aren't griping was one of the SURE signs of mental problems.Small unit ops on the tip of the spear are NOT like garritrooper and REMF ops.

Rusty said...

I'm away from my library now. but Ryan in his work "A Bridge Too Far" depicts a US-British joint planning session in the field in which the British Officers were dressed fastidiously in formal dress and mildly appalled at their unshaven, cigar-smoking, tobacco-spitting open-collared counterparts festooned with grenades and bayonets strapped to their thighs.

The British, French and Germans were shocked that the Americans went to war in their work clothes.Of course they were also shocked at all the planes tanks and materiel.

tim in vermont said...

The main reason for owning a money losing rag like the NYT is the ability to do favors for the powerful.

tim in vermont said...

I have always figured that the prototypical hipster fashion icon was Dennis the Menace's father. He smoked a pipe.

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Mazo Jeff said...

Pipe smoking? Reminds me of Niedermeier with an ascot.

LarsPorsena said...

Lorenzo said...
Did Bergdahl also have leather patches on the sleeves of his BDUs?

6/8/14, 10:08 PM
____________________________

LOL!

Kelly said...

When my husband went to Somalia he took a pipe with him only because the tabaco was easier to stuff in a duffle bag than a carton of cigarettes. He figured it was unlikely they'd be building PX's while he was there. He was a Sgt at the time. Thankfully that habit didn't take hold.

CatherineM said...

I actually think Bergdahl was used as a cover to release the worst Gitmo prisoners in order to make the release of the rest look like, "no big deal."

I was also waiting for the smear of the rest of his platoon. NYT never disappoints. Do you REALLY think anyone would have spoke out if he didn't endanger/cost lives by deserting his post and getting captured?

friscoda said...

CatherineM nailed it re closing Gitmo. Obama wants to have some legacy that plays well in Program circles.

friscoda said...

Make that progressive circles

holdfast said...

According to the Daily Mail (all the pics that are free to share), Berghdal doesn't want to talk to his folks, and wants to be referred to as "Pfc", not "Sgt".

One might think that he's gotten an education on the true nature of the Taliban that's a little at odds with his Dad's pronouncements. Also that he might be feeling some shame at getting captured (even if just via his own negligence).

Drago said...

Cedarford: "Just so folks know, back in the day when POWs were thought to be both the greatest heroes serving by virtue of capture by the enemy.."

Got some links for that?

Unknown said...

I am proud to see the President of the United States finally coming to grips with the situation in a way that will stop all these racist attacks.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/hagel-made-final-call-on-bergdahl-swap-congress-told/

Unknown said...

Wrote too soon. There's a racist component I missed (Crack, couldn't you have rung the bell?). It takes five guys of color to count for one white guy.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/nicole-mullen/2014/06/the-racist-element-of-the-bergdahl-trade-that-white-liberals-refuse-to-acknowledge/

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